Polk County baseball coach Billy Alm wanted his Wolverines to make a statement in their Western Highlands Conference opener.
Consider the message delivered.
Polk County exploded for 13 hits, including a pair of home runs, and scored in every inning Monday to hand Avery a 12-2 five-inning setback in the Wolverines’ home opener.
Holden Owens’ three-run homer in the bottom of the first set the tone for Polk’s offense, with Sedric Pickett adding a two-run shot in the fourth inning.
That offense proved more than enough for starter Clark Phipps, who struck out seven and allowed just two hits in four innings to earn the win. Austin Geagley pitched a scoreless fifth inning in relief.
“Our first conference win is definitely something to build our confidence,” Alm said. “We wanted to win it big and send a message.
“Our two-strike approach was on point. We had four or five hits with two strikes.”
Avery (0-1, 0-1) pushed across two runs in the top of the first, but Polk (2-1, 1-0) wasted no time in responding. Elijah Sutton doubled to open the game, then moved to third on a passed ball before Evan Rimer was hit by a pitch.
Owens then cleared the bases with a high drive to center, giving Polk a 3-0 lead.
The Wolverines added three more runs in the inning on a Pickett RBI double, a Phipps run-scoring single and a two-out base hit by Grayson Jones that plated Phipps.
Owens tripled in Rimer in the second, then scored on a Kaleb Kropp sacrifice fly. A Rimer RBI double in the third made it 9-2 before Pickett’s two-run blast to left-center in the fourth upped the lead to 11-2.
The Wolverines then wrapped up the game in the fifth on a Rimer RBI single.
Phipps and Geagley made certain the offensive outburst wouldn’t be for naught.
“We’ve got to work to find the zone and throw multiple pitches for strikes,” Alm said. “We gave up too many walks (five). Our arms looked lively.”
Pickett finished 3-for-3 with three RBI, Rimer finished 3-for-3 with two RBI and Owens added a 2-for-3 effort with four RBI. Kropp, Phipps and Jones were each 1-for-2 with an RBI.
Polk County continues conference play on Thursday, hosting Owen.